Opening up the wormhole of the intertwined nature of corporate interests and sports establishments can be a heady experience, akin to falling into the surf at midnight amidst an especially brusque excursion with some innocuous blank dosage. Over the years, society has become so used to the constant bombardment of urgent calls to consumptive action that it is scarcely worth batting an eyelash at. When opening the grand coffee table book of sponsorships and corporate partners, a certain pattern and uniformity can be deduced with time. Not only do each of the 30 National Basketball Association teams have roughly the same amount of sponsors, but also have them equally divided into several key categories. Upon closer inspection, it is somewhat amusing to discover that automotive companies across the map have acted out what comes across as a draft of their very own. Each major automotive player, as it turns out, acts as the sponsor for at least one of the 30 NBA teams. This unofficial draft will be dissected at length in the paragraphs below.
There doesn’t really appear to be any sort of rhyme or reason as to which teams sponsor whole. If anything, there are only vague geographical cues to pick from, such as southern teams such as the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets each taking their vehicle sponsorship from the automotive behemoth Kia Motors. Perhaps it is the long stretches of country road that require civilians and players alike all throughout the South to clamor for gas-efficient models such as the Rio and the Optima. Perhaps gas prices themselves are in flux, leading consumers to err on the side of caution and get the most miles for their gallon. Other companies such as Lexus and Honda back seemingly random teams, the Brooklyn Nets and the Dallas Mavericks respectively.
This longstanding partnership between the National Basketball Association and the automotive industry has been so longstanding that even niche services only vaguely related to it are starting to get their foot in the door. Uber, a start-up that eventually evolved into a surprisingly successful and affordable alternative to cabs, has partnered up with both the aforementioned Hornets and 2018’s semi-finalist the Miami Heat. Seeing a plucky company such as Uber casually sidle in next to corporate behemoths such as Lexus and Honda truly is a testament to the many changes brought on by a society that is rushing through technological advancements in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, companies that offer automotive-related services such as Goodyear Tires have benefited from this industrial pillar by falling in with teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, this partnership, this union of cars and athleticism. After all, do fans not need to travel in order to see their team play? Do they not cram the streets with pedestrian and vehicle traffic alike? Whether one is an honorable Golden State fan or even a degenerate Portland Timbers enthusiast, the appeal of an official team car to drive is undeniable.